Polenta is an Italian staple dish 6wsisth its roots in Roman times. The name comes from the Latin word pulmentum, which was a nourishing porridge made from various grains and legumes, such as lentils. The most common grain used was barley, until the discovery of the New World made corn available. Corn's bright, sunny color and naturally sweet flavor made polenta both tastier and more attractive. Polenta can be served warm as soon as it is made, or cooled, sliced and fried to a crisp, golden surface.
Things You'll Need
- Cooled polenta
- Cutting board
- Thin-bladed knife
- Flour (optional)
- Heavy-bottomed skillet, preferably nonstick
- Oil or butter
Place the cooled polenta on a cutting board. Cut it into wedges or other shapes with a thread, or a thin-bladed knife.
Dredge the flat sides of the polenta lightly in flour to make a crisper surface and prevent sticking.
Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Polenta tends to stick, so a nonstick pan is best if you have one.
Pour vegetable oil into the pan, or use 2 tbsp.of butter. As soon as the butter stops foaming, or when the oil is shimmering in the pan, place pieces of polenta carefully into the skillet. Fry the polenta in batches, rather than crowding the pan.
Fry until golden and crispy, usually three or four minutes. Turn and crisp the other side for the same length of time. Repeat until all the polenta has been prepared.
Serve the polenta immediately while hot and crisp. It can be kept warm for some time, but the moisture in the polenta will soften the crisp surface.
- "On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen"; Harold S. McGee; 2004
- Life in Italy; Polenta: Italy's Other National Dish; Jason Demetri
- Epicurious; Flank Steak with Crispy Polenta and Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette; Charlie Trotter; February 1999
- Food Network; Crispy Polenta Cakes with Wild Mushrooms Ragout; Joanne Weir
- Food Network; Fried Polenta; Giada de Laurentiis
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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